St. John’s UCC will collect the special offering for Neighbors in Need (NIN) on Sunday, October 4, which is also World Communion Sunday. This year, special consideration will be given to projects focusing on serving our immigrant neighbors and communities.
Neighbors in Need, a special offering of the United Church of Christ, supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of this offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants.
Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. This year, special consideration will be given to projects focusing on serving our immigrant neighbors and communities.
In a congregational meeting, during which the congregation was discerning about becoming a Just Peace congregation, someone once asked, “How can we say we are just for peace? We are for so much more than that.”
Just Peace as a designation does not mean that a congregation is merely “for peace.” It means that the congregation understands that Justice and Peace are inevitably bound together–so closely entwined that it is impossible to separate them.
Peace and justice both require careful tending and loving attention. As the scripture reading this morning reminds us, peace is easily lost. The people grumble among themselves and with their leaders. But they are not just grumbling out of dissatisfaction or irritability. They are grumbling because they are hungry. The peace issue (conflict among the people) cannot be addressed until the justice issue (People need enough to eat) is met. Justice and Peace, hand in hand, are then able to move forward into the wilderness.
The Just Peace website, (https://www.ucc.org/justice just-peace) states, “Justice and Witness Ministries is committed to a revitalized Just Peace Church movement and to empowering and resourcing congregations to create a stronger justice and peace witness. Now is the time to rekindle our commitment to Just Peace and make visible our longstanding witness to this approach…Does your church consider itself to be a Just Peace congregation? What is your church doing to live out its calling to be a Just Peace Church? What does it mean to be a Just Peace Church in times like these? I hope you will take the time to update your church’s information on our site and offer your responses to these questions. Your energy and voice is needed to reinvigorate and shape the direction of our collective movement.”
If your congregation is not a Just Peace Church, maybe now is the time to begin a conversation about this important movement for merging justice and peace to be about the creation of God’s reign here on earth.
For the safety of us all, please note the following items when attending worship at St. John’s UCC:
–Masks will be required.
–The deacons will assist in seating everyone and release those in attendance at the conclusion of the worship service.
–Every other pew will be open. We ask that social distancing be observed. Families will be able to sit together.
–The offering plate will not be passed during the worship service; however, there will be a plate at the back of the church for your offering(s).
–Bulletins will be available to you when you enter the sanctuary, but the Deacons will not be handing them to you.
At this point in time we will not have Sunday school classes.
The Reverend Katherine Beckett has been hired as full-time interim minister to serve St. John’s UCC for one year. Reverend Beckett comes to us from Rockford, Ohio, and will be moving to the Bluffton community within a week or two.
We welcome her to St. John’s UCC and are looking forward to her time with us.
St. John’s UCC in Bluffton resumes in-house worship services on Sunday, September 6. The worship service begins at 10:30 a.m. Face masks are required. Ushers will be available to lead you to seating.
Sunday, September 20: In-house worship at 10:30 a.m. Reverend Beckett’s sermon title is “Playing Favorites”. Scriptures are Acts 8:26-40; James 2:1-7; 1 John 4:7-21.
Dr. Crystal Sellers Battle will serve as song leader. Masks remain on. Singing by the congregants is optional.
Tuesday, September 22: TOPS meets at 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 23: Men’s breakfast at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.; Food pantry open, 7 to 8 p.m.
If you would like to volunteer for helping serve at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, please sign up on the bulletin board in the sanctuary. Helpers are always welcome.
You are missing out on a super way to advertise our church if you are not sharing with many of your other Facebook friends St. John’s Facebook page. There are many interesting articles posted every day. “Friend” all of your friends and ask them to “Like” the St. John’s page–let’s let people know we are here, alive, and moving forward!
In an effort to make this site easier for you to access, it can now be found at www.blufftonstjohns.com! You can still find this page using the old web address, but now it will be easier to tell family and friends where they can find up-to-date news about St. John’s UCC in Bluffton, Ohio.